An accelerated energy transition for greater energy security

The Berlin Energy Transition Dialogue (BETD) discussed the pivotal role of the global energy transition in delivering greater energy security. The urgency of energy transformation was also highlighted by IRENA’s report, „World Energy Transitions Outlook: 1.5°C Pathway“, which was presented at the BETD.

Berlin Skyline Dämmerung©Adobe Stock / frank peters

The global energy transition has again sparked great debate as it has attained a new dimension following Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine. It has become clear that the transition to renewable sources of energy will not only deliver progress in terms of climate change mitigation, but also ensure greater security. To this end, the issues of energy efficiency and fast renewables expansion for greater energy sovereignty have been put high on the international agenda. This was also the overall tenor at the 8th Berlin Energy Transition Dialogue, which was held in Berlin at the end of March. Guided by the motto „From Ambition to Action“, the conference was opened by Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock and Economic Affairs Minister Robert Habeck.

Ministers and high-level delegations from more than 50 countries came together to discuss strategies for a smart transformation of energy systems throughout the world and for achieving greater independence from fossil fuels. Fossil fuel exporters, for example, are faced with the challenge of adapting their economic systems. For many countries, however, this also gives rise to new opportunities for greater diversification. The global energy transition will give a boost to trade and international cooperation – for instance in the form of energy partnerships such as those maintained by Germany all across the globe. „It is now more important than ever to champion a global energy transition and to take resolute action to press ahead with global renewables expansion and measures to enhance energy efficiency,“ Habeck said.

According to IRENA, an annual USD 5.7 trillion needed in investments globally

An accelerated energy transition as a means of improving energy security is also recommended by the report of the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), „World Energy Transitions Outlook: 1.5°C Pathway“, which was presented at the BETD. For many countries, the energy transition can be an opportunity to free themselves from their reliance on imports of fossil resources. IRENA’s report points to the rising prices of fossil energy commodities and the rapid progression of climate change as reasons why action is so urgently needed. If the energy transition is to be a success and global warming to be limited to 1.5 degrees (relative to the pre-industrial age) as laid down in the Paris Agreement, IRENA says an annual USD 5.7 trillion in investments needs to be mobilised globally.

„The energy transition is far from being on the right track and any less radical action in the coming years will diminish, even eliminate the chances to meet our climate goals,“ said IRENA Director-General Francesco La Camera.

In addition to rapid, full-scale renewables expansion, significant improvements are needed with regard to energy efficiency and electrification, for example by deploying electric cars and heat pumps. The transport sector still relies heavily on oil, and both private and commercial consumers still depend too much on gas, for example for heating their homes or businesses. According to the report, this could be countered by a rapid ramp-up of hydrogen, the use of biomass and underground carbon storage.

IRENA says up to 85 million jobs could be created by 2030

The labour market will benefit as well, it is argued, with potentially up to 85 million new jobs to be created by 2030 in the context of the global energy transition. The estimated loss of 12 million jobs as a result of the fossil fuel phase-out clearly pales in comparison.

The Berlin Energy Transition Dialogue is an annual event that has taken place since 2015 at the invitation of the Federal Government. It is hosted in cooperation with the Federal Association for Renewable Energy (BEE), the Federal Solar Industry Association (BSW-Solar), the German Energy Agency (DENA), and eclareon.